6 trends for spine in ASCs — Spinal stenosis procedures jump 2,000% in 12 years

A new study published in Spine examines the utilization of ambulatory surgical procedures for intervertebral disc disorders and spinal stenosis from 1994 to 2006 in the United States.

The researchers examined the National Survey of Ambulatory Surgery, which the CDC conducted in 1994, 1996 and 2006. The researchers found:

1. Procedures for intervertebral disc disorders increased 540 percent from 1994 to 2006; at the same time, procedures for spinal stenosis increased 926 percent.

2. The intervertebral fusion increased from 5 percent of outpatient spine surgeries to 17 percent over the 12-year study period.

3. Freestanding ambulatory facility use for intervertebral disc disorders jumped 340 percent from 1994 to 2006. For spinal stenosis, the outpatient ambulatory facilities use skyrocketed 2,000 percent.

4. Private insurance companies represented 91 percent of the cases in 2006 and were the largest compensator.

5. Over the study period, an increasing proportion of male patients underwent surgery for intervertebral disc disorders and stenosis at the ambulatory facilities.

6. The most common diagnosis for the spine patients was lumbar disc displacement throughout the study period.

"These findings may aid policy-makers and caregivers in allocating healthcare resources to ensure the delivery of quality patient care," concluded the study authors.

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